Thursday, February 1, 2007

Awake and Arise

Trying to identify a topic is always fun and amazing how they come about. On this occasion I had some quotes and a scripture that I wanted to use in this months talk, but had not narrowed down the topic. As I was walking to my computer to sit down and type up a talk, I just knew that my topic was to be Awake and Arise, which falls in line with the scripture I had in mind but also allows for greater depth. In this talk hopefully the Spirit will take to your very soul the message and that it will cause action within us all. Moroni could no longer sit still and watch his freedoms taken from him and he took action and required all men, women, and children to come forth and take action as well (Alma 46: 12-13, 19, 21, 23). We no longer can sit still while righteousness is taken from us, we too must take action and warn others to take action as well. Awake and arise should take on new meaning in your lives by the conclusion of my talk.

The simplicity of the word, awake, causes many to miss or overlook the purpose and use of the word. We see from scriptures how simplicity can be the downfall of many.

1 Nephi 17: 41

41 And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simplexes of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.

Here we sadly learn that "the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished." I think that is important to note that those that perished, understood the meaning of the word "look" but failed to understand the action needed to be saved. The concept of awake and arise is equally simple, and yet we hardly give it a second thought. As I look at it one must either be asleep or awake, there is no middle ground. I believe that is why this term is used over 60 times in the scriptures. It is a descriptive word that is not open to interpretation, there is only one possible interpretation and that is one is either asleep or awake. The Savior spoke in parables, but why?

Matthew 13:34-35

34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Mark 4:10-11

10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.

11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

The Savoir spoke in parable to keep all those that had not the spirit to hear, asleep, and those that had the spirit to hear he, awoke or unstopped their ears and they were given understanding.

The key is not the meaning of the word "awake" but instead the action or act "to awake." This key will either be "asleep" to you still or the spirit will unstop your ears and you will begin to act or strive to learn how to act which is what contains the power to save.

I was having a difficult day a while back and was sitting at a river behind where I currently work. I was praying and felt prompted to open my scriptures. I opened my scriptures to the same chapter I had read the night before and my eyes caught hold of a scripture that meant very little to me the night before. I was given understanding to unlock its meaning. This scripture is found in D&C.

D&C 133: 10

10 Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.

Here we see those words "awake and arise." There a few components here that are important to point out.

1. "Yea, let the cry go forth among all people" The cry has gone forth through the Book of Mormon, but we are also commanded to do the crying or warning. Just in the D&C the Lord uses the word warn 20 times and many of them are a command for us. We must give heed.

D&C 63: 37, 57-58

37 …lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth; and declare both by word and by flight

57 …those who desire in their hearts, in meekness, to warn sinners to repentance, let them be ordained unto this power.

58 For this is a day of warning, and not a day of many words…

D&C 88: 81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.

D&C 38: 41 And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.

D&C 112: 5 Contend thou, therefore, morning by morning; and day after day let thy warning voice go forth; and when the night cometh let not the inhabitants of the earth slumber, because of thy speech.

D&C 124: 106 And in all his journeyings let him lift up his voice as with the sound of a trump, and warn the inhabitants of the earth to flee the wrath to come.

2. "Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom." I believe that this is the stage that we are in and it was confirmed to me that this was the case. We are no longer allowed to sleep and we must awake the rest of the world. I was given some insight pertaining to this stage. This stage combined with stage 4 and includes going forth to meet the Bridegroom. In my mind it was likened to getting ready for church or a wedding both similar dress and similar requirements.

At night we set our alarm to go off an hour and a half before we need to be leaving to get to church on time or slightly early. When we hear our alarm, what do you think we do several times? That is correct we hit the snooze button. This can be very dangerous and many times leads us to being late. When we finally get up, we make a mad rush bathing kids and ourselves, finding clean clothes, tights, jewelry, and shoes. It is more than just getting ourselves and girls ready, we also have to find coloring books, toys, and snacks to keep the kids stay quite during Sacrament meeting. Then comes the drive which is always fun and hectic. So that is the typical routine for Sunday morning at the Conover house.

The thought then came to me if it takes that kind of time to prepare my small family of 5, how much time is needed to prepare a ward, community, nation, and the world. Now be careful not to judge. What was given to me was not necessarily time related but rather a greater understanding of circumstances. The Prophets have already told us many times that we are at the doors. There is an urgency to prepare rapidly ourselves, families, and to take this warning to our neighbors and to the world.

3. "Behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." There is no doubt that he will come, it is inevitable. We must choose whether to have oil in our lamps or not.

4. "Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord." Once we can view the correct circumstances then we can act appropriately if we choose. Preparation is a choice. Here in lies the truth of the saying I have heard Thomas S Monson quote, "When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past." For example, if we were still asleep and kept hitting the snooze button, can we miss the wedding all together, the answer is yes. Can we take too long in the shower and just drag our feet and miss the wedding, yes. One thing to remember is that there is no late, those that are late will miss the wedding as well. We learn this from the parable of the ten virgins, five of who were late and were locked out of the wedding.

Matthew 25:10-12

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

We all know why the five virgins were late, and that was because they ran out of oil for their lamps. The oil is simply the preparation that we make. As we think of preparation, lets look at some of the times that the Lord through the Holy Scriptures tells us to awake ourselves and then to prepare.

D&C 117:2-3

2 Let them awake, and arise, and come forth, and not tarry, for I, the Lord, command it.

3 Therefore, if they tarry it shall not be well with them.

There is a powerful statement by Henry b Eyring, who said, "The danger lies in delay or drift, (Always, CES Fireside 1/3/1999).

2 Ne. 1: 13, 23

13 O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.

23 Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.

Rom. 13: 11

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

1 Cor. 15: 34

34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

Eph. 5: 14

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee alight.

2 Ne. 4: 28

28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

2 Ne. 9: 47

47 But behold, my brethren, is it expedient that I should awake you to an awful reality of these things? Would I harrow up your souls if your minds were pure? Would I be plain unto you according to the plainness of the truth if ye were freed from sin?

Jacob 3: 11

11 O my brethren, hearken unto my words; arouse the faculties of your souls; shake yourselves that ye may awake from the slumber of death; and loose yourselves from the pains of hell that ye may not become angels to the devil, to be cast into that lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death.

Mosiah 2: 40

40 O, all ye old men, and also ye young men, and you little children who can understand my words, for I have spoken plainly unto you that ye might understand, I pray that ye should awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression.

Alma 32: 27

27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

Ether 8: 24

24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

In closing I would like to extend a challenge to more fully awake to your own personal standing with God and take action today. Let us no longer hit the snooze button, but let us awake and arise and be about our father's business (Luke 2:49). Let us prepare ourselves and families and get to work preparing to go forth and meet the Bridegroom. I have a testimony of this great work and know we possess inside our souls greatness and all we need to do is tap into that greatness. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Written by Craig Conover on 10/7/2006.

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